Belfast Telegraph

My father and Martin McGuinness got over far worse - time for humble pie: Ian Paisley

Ian Paisley has said it is time for humble pie to be served and eaten.

The North Antrim MP, speaking on Sky News, said politicians needed to move beyond the past and resolve their differences. It comes as DUP MLAs will meet for the first time since the election last week in which the party lost 10 seats. Talks on restoring the devolved institutions will also enter their second day.

"It takes perhaps a bit of humble pie being served up and being eaten and it takes humility and a bit of work," Mr Paisley said.

“We need that new skill to recognise that we have to talk to each other very, very differently and work with each other very differently.”

He said unionism was in a different place to 20 or 40 years ago but despite the loss of a unionist majority at Stormont for the first time in almost a century, "58% of voters backed a unionist party".

"So I still think a border poll we would win it, and win it hands down. But that’s not the point," he said.

"We want to avoid that type of calamity and that type of crisis and the best way to do that is for political leaders to demonstrate that they have the skill, the competency and the ability to cooperate and to work with each other – my father and Martin McGuinness got over far worse."

Mr Paisley again denied he was manoeuvring into a position for a leadership challenge and that Northern Ireland was in a crisis that could have been avoided.

On Arlene Foster's standing aside he said that was a decision for his party leader and whatever she decided would have the support of the party.

He was asked about the Belfast Telegraph report  that Mrs Foster faced a potential revolt from within her party ranks.

Mr Paisley added: “I think Arlene has a strong support base. But she also has to answer some very tough questions. And that’s on behalf of all of us.

“We all have to look very closely at the performance of our party, at the performance of unionism and realise that tough questions have got to be asked and therefore difficult answers given and importantly then look and see can we achieve unionist unity with other parties.

“Otherwise, we are back in that bunker and it’s the worst place for us to be.”

On Monday it was reported that Martin McGuinness' health had deteriorated and he had spent the past two weeks in hospital. Gerry Adams said his family had asked for privacy.

Mr Paisley, whose late father held a close bond with Mr McGuinness, added: "The prayers of all God-fearing people in Northern Ireland are with Martin and his family."

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